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China to revise list of permissible packaging additives

The Chinese Ministry of Health (MOH) has planned to revise standards around food packaging additives that include 82 national food safety standards projects, encompassing the "Hygienic Standards for Uses of Additives in Food Containers and Packaging Materials," according to announcement No. 512.

The deadline for standards projects is 30 June 2013, according to the announcement, reported

Keller and Heckman, a legal firm, said many food packaging standards which exist are expected to have the biggest effect with the revised GB9685.

The MOH is reviewing certain petitions, which are expected to be published by the end of 2012, in addition to a negative list of substances that are prohibited from food packaging use.

The standards include enactment of standards for polystyrene, mineral oil, and polyethylene glycol (PEG) from the China Food Additives & Ingredients Association, and are enforced by the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

According to the legal firm, the country is moving towards regulatory compliance, particularly in case of multinational companies that show greater awareness, and an unapproved food additive is usually not used by manufacturers.

The national food safety standards projects include basic standards, food products, food additives, specifications of production and operation and inspection methods.

GB 9685 standard leaves out certain aspects of packaging, Keller and Heckman observed.

New approvals for food packaging materials will continue to be published on the MOH website, once the revised version of GB9685 is released.